Golden Gate Ventures | Venture Capital for Southeast Asia

Aptoide raises US$4M Series A from Gobi Partners, Golden Gate Ventures

Competition is heating up on the independent app store front as Aptoide raises a US$4 million Series A from a mix of VCs from Europe, China and Southeast Asia.

Before this round, Aptoide had first raised a US$1 million seed round in 2013 from Portugal Ventures’ “Call For Entrepreneurship,” a part of the firm’s Ignition Programme that plans on investing up to EUR20 million (US$21.6 million) into Portuguese tech startups every year.

Two years later, Portugal Ventures re-invested alongside Shanghai’s Gobi Partners, Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures and global firm, which led the round.

According to a release, the four-year-old startup will be using the cash to “accelerate global rollout efforts, with an emphasis on Latin America and Southeast Asia.”

Headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, Aptoide also has offices in Shenzhen and set up shop in Singapore in 2015 to target Southeast Asia.

Claiming to be the world’s top alternative Android app store, Aptoide has clocked over 100 million yearly active users with 500,000 apps available on its marketplace. It also hit its two billion app download milestone in 2015 and is available in 29 languages.

One reason for Aptoide’s growth is simply product/market fit, especially in the eastern markets. Golden Gate Ventures’ Managing Partner Jeffrey Paine weighed in: “In emerging Asia, mobile consumers need a strong alternative app store to discover and engage with products built by local developers. Likewise, local developers need their own direct channel to access users and also monetise more effectively.”

COO Álvaro Pinto thinks it might be Aptoide’s community-centric approach. How it works is Aptoide lets developers, OEMs, telcos and integrators create and run their own Android app store, while users have the freedom to browse shops operated by independent brands and developers.

Besides offering users ample flexibility, Aptoide’s strategic partners in Asia are a key cog in its ability to scale. Gobi Partners’ Managing Partner Thomas Tsao noted that “China and Southeast Asia are two of the world’s largest mobile markets both for manufacturers and consumers. By working closely with local OEMs and telcos, we believe that Aptoide will be available for more users around the globe.”

Besides housing independent app stores, Aptoide is also peddling its in-house products — three apps that meet a variety of user needs such as a dedicated store for Android Smart TVs and set top boxes.

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